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Maximum power transfer in solar microgrid applications is achieved by impedance matching with a dc-dc converter with maximum power point tracking by the incremental conductance method. Regulation and dynamic control is achieved by operating with continuous conduction. It can be shown that under stable operation, the required output inductor has an inductance versus current characteristic, whereby the inductance falls off with increasing current, corresponding to increasing incident solar radiation. This paper describes how a variable inductor whereby the inductor core progressively saturates with increasing current meets this requirement and has the advantage of reducing the overall size of the inductor by up to 75% and increases the operating range of the tracker to recover solar energy at low solar levels.
Date of Publication: April 2011